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A good half of the art of living is resilience. ― Alain de Botton

Startups navigate some degree of failure daily. From the a cold email with no reply to a failure to raise capital, failure is part of the cycle. Founders who want to survive must develop a deep resiliency to move with the ebb and flow of the startup life.

Nigel Sharp is a British Armenian entrepreneur and founder of Lion Sharp a computer-human interaction product startup. The company seems to be perfectly poised for a moment that catapults the company to a new level of success. Following a harrowing 6 months, they have brought a new product called Voiceboard to market. At the same time the company has almost completely exhausted their operating capital. Employees have recently taken pay cuts of 80-90% and face fears of survival in a country with no social welfare system to rely on. Episode 17 of the Reboot podcast unfolds as Nigel asks himself the question, “Am I being resilient or just stubborn?”

How much do you really believe? – Jerry Colonna

As an entrepreneur, sometimes it is difficult to know if you are being resilient or being stubborn by forging ahead. When Jerry thinks about this question of stubbornness versus resiliency, one of the questions he often asks is “how much do you actually believe?” People often stick with something past a point in which they actually believe. That stubbornness tends to be rooted in ego not allowing you to experience failure or you wanting to prove people wrong.

Through their discussion, Jerry believes he is not hearing that with Nigel. Instead, he is hearing a belief in the technology and team they have built.

Give First – Brad Feld

A primary driver of Nigel operating in Armenia is wanting to build the startup community in Armenia. He is dedicated to helping teach younger generations and to be an example of building a successful technology company.

Having a deeper purpose and mission other than just building a business is important. A deeper mission is the passion, the spark to propel a company to great success. Nigel clearly has the spark and drive to create deep society level change.

We make pain worthwhile by extracting the lessons from it. – Jerry Colonna

One of the mistakes we make as leaders is we take on all the responsibility. Taking all the responsibility cuts us off from accessing the very people we need. For Nigel, this means realizing that the problem of moving Armenia forward is not just his problem.

What is the definition of resiliency except the ability to rise after being knocked down? Isn’t that resiliency? It is not about whether or not you got knocked down. In the end, the definition of resiliency is the capacity to cut through your own lying, your own tendency for self-delusion, and to pick yourself up and learn from the experience.

You can listen to the full episode from which this blog was produced here.


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sarahjanecoffey